Jokko$anté. The digital community pharmacy start-up

To coincide with the Viva Technology show, we are showcasing the eHealth start-ups that will be introduced on the Orange stand.

From 15 to 17 June, Viva Technology will again be mobilising its network of co-innovation enablers for start-ups and large companies. This is a great opportunity for innovators in the healthcare sector, and one that the Senegalese start-up Jokko$anté has jumped at. They will be on the Orange Lab stand at the event, ready to showcase their digital talents. In this article, Allyson Kilbrai talks to its founder, Adama Kane.

What it is Jokko$anté?

Jokko$anté is an innovative Senegalese start-up, founded in 2015 to address the issue of wasted medication. The impact of this initiative provides real socio-medical value with a community-based model that ensures fairer access to medication, particularly for those who cannot afford treatment.

Jokko$anté is inspired by two words: ‘jokkolanté’ means ‘to give and receive’ in Wolof, the most widely spoken language in Senegal. And ‘santé' means ‘health’ in French.

Between 52% to 73% of healthcare spending goes on medication

In Senegal, where 80% of the active population has no medical insurance and the cover provided by many insurance companies and health mutuals does not include medication, the majority of healthcare expenditure is on drugs.

Jokko$anté offers a community-based mechanism for handing in, stockpiling, sharing and cross-financing medication. The aim is to move from exchanging drugs within the family, to doing so on a departmental, regional or even a national level. The solution is based on a secure web-based, mobile application and medical institutions and healthcare professionals are involved from beginning to end.

The platform uses three complementary mechanisms to provide fairer access to medication:

  • the circular economy,
  • cross-financing,
  • online exchange of credits/points

Adama, how did you come up with the idea for Jokko$anté?

It all started with a personal story. Our first child was born in 2013. One month before the birth, my wife and I were rearranging our bedroom to make a bit of space for the baby. We had some challenges getting pregnant and we had built up a collection of medication, much of which was still unopened and unused. The sight of all these drugs, which other people were bound to need, that gave me the idea of setting up a digital community pharmacy.

Your start-up is contributing to the digital transformation of healthcare systems – what are the biggest challenges you face?

The digital transformation of healthcare systems provides a great opportunity to address structural issues, such as lack of information, gaps in the provision of medical care and unequal access to medication, without breaking the bank. We must recognise, however, that healthcare professionals need educational support in order to pick up the pace of regulatory reform and to trigger its full potential.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

We have drawn up a development plan, which should enable us to roll out our solution to 20 countries by 2020. In five years time we plan to go beyond the distribution of medication and expand our concept to the full range of healthcare products and services. Such as treatment, hospital admissions, surgery, etc. It’s a matter of putting in place an entirely virtual patient pathway that incorporates every aspect of healthcare and which is based solely on the mobile phone.

In 2015, Jokko$anté was selected for the International Telecommunication Union ‘Recognition of Excellence’ award and won the African Entrepreneurship Award for the best African project in an uncharted field, and for the protection of the environment.

You can meet Adama Kane on the Orange Lab stand at Viva Technology in Paris from 15-17 June!

In France, 11,884 tonnes of unused medication (UM) was collected in 2016, representing a steady decline since 2010. UMs are collected by French pharmacies and batched up by wholesale distributors before being recycled to generate energy. In 2016, UMs provided lighting and heating for the equivalent of 7,000 homes! Taking back UMs is becoming an increasingly popular eco-friendly act amongst French people. (Association Cylamed, report 2016)


Allyson Kilbrai

I'm a self-confessed news junkie who began my digital existence in the pre-GUI era. I thoroughly enjoy thoughtful, critical analysis of current events. When not scanning the horizon for new blog articles on mobile connectivity, 5G and IoT, I manage the communications activities for the International Mobility Services business unit within Orange Business, both in France and internationally.